At the intersection of fast & slow: Christiane Baumgartner


Hallo. I’m Christiane Baumgartner.

This piece is called Transall. It’s a German word for military transport plane that can transport soldiers, tanks, to bring some emergency relief supplies if there is a crisis somewhere in the world. And I made it as a woodcut out of a photograph I have found in a newspaper years ago.

I had to take two very large pieces of plywood because the plywood didn’t come as long as I needed. I did put the image in the computer, print it out in the same size as I did want to have it and then I took carbon paper and traced it onto the wood. And this altogether took 10 months.

I had the feeling that the whole world speeds up, we are using the internet to communicate and we are expecting an answer immediately. And that’s why I was thinking about the old techniques we had learned in Leipzig years ago already before the Wall came down, and in a way I’m using the last reproduction technique — photography or, now, even video — to create an image in the first and earliest and slowest reproduction technique.

When I watched people seeing my work, it was really nice to see them going a few steps toward the image because when you are close you just see the line grain; you don’t see the image. Then, they have to go back to see the image and this happens in your brain. You know, to combine the line and the gray tones together to [make] the total picture? I like to have people realize that it’s handmade.

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